The pictures of Israeli children writing „greetings“ on the bombs destined for Lebanon were widely distributed in the Internet and newspapers of the Arab world and received with shock and anger there. The Western mass media on the other hand kept a very low profile on this matter which reflects the general reaction of the West to Israel’s way of handling this latest crisis – not without worrying consequences.
Shortly after the publication of the photos of Israeli children writing „greetings“ on bombs to be fired into Lebanon I watched a newsmagazine on German satellite TV in which a German lady was waiting to be evacuated from Lebanon during the recent war between Israel and Hezbollah. At the end of her interview she was crying and said that she liked to say something else, if she was allowed. Her wish was granted. She wanted to say that she was very disappointed about the biased reporting of the Western media and then she began to weep about the fate of the people trapped in the South and the many children, who were being bombed without having shelters and had not been given enough time to escape the area. After a few sentences she was not able to continue.
I watched with tears in my eyes and remembered the disgusting pictures I had seen the very same morning for the first time in a German online magazine, photos of smiling young Israeli girls writing „greetings“ on the bombs that the Israeli army was to fire into Lebanon. The recipients of these „greetings“ I saw too later on Arabic TV and in their newspapers. Pictures that were only rarely published if at all by the Western media, for which the viewers, one has to admit, needed a very strong stomach.
As the war dragged on international politicians, advisors and anyone concerned started to express their regret about the human loss of life and the devastation, but an official stand from the UN on mounting concerns over violations of public international laws by Israel was prevented by a veto from the USA which did not allow the Israeli government to be criticized by the international community for its actions. Why? Anyone causing such humanitarian catastrophes should be criticized, even the Israeli government. Whoever was declared responsible for initiating that war, according to the different sides, however, it is common sense that the weaker military has only two options either to defend itself or to surrender, but the stronger army is the one that can give way. Only Israel had the power to end the sufferings of the people in Lebanon right away at any time. In consideration of the many pictures of traumatized children, increasing refugee tracks and destructed city areas, not to mention the horrible images of terrible injuries and torn apart bodies, people in the West kept a very low profile on expressing their indignations in public about such mass punishment of civilians. „Never again“ is probably only a shallow hope voiced after man made humanitarian catastrophes.
As photos often say more than words, people in the West should have the courage to view these pictures seldom or never shown in the Western media, but in „aljazeera.com“, „english.aljazeera.net“ or „gdn.com.bh“ (e.g. Archive 14 July 2006). And as if the war has not already done enough harm there are many duds still crippling so many innocent Lebanese civilians to this day even though the fighting has ended. But these pictures will probably not be shown in the Western press anyway. Is shame or fear or, even worse, lack of interest the reason for turning a blind eye? Muslims and Arabs consequently accused the West of double standards and concluded that Muslim or Arab lives were considered less worthy despite all talk of human rights and humanitarian values.
Despite Western friendships with Israel, the governments of the Western states should have had the courage to criticize Israel for the methods used by her superior military power during four weeks of aggression and the Western public should have come out in noisy demonstrations other than the few silent vigils and the small protests organized by Muslims or Arab nationals in some Western cities. Where were the Western democratic masses demonstrating in support of the innocent civilians killed in their hundreds in Lebanon just as Western public voices had time and again demanded of Muslims and Arabs after the acts of terror in the USA, Spain and Great Britain? The worrying outcome of this latest war is that the world seems to become more polarized into two camps, the one supporting and the other one against the State of Israel diminishing the chances of security and peace for both sides; a situation Bin Laden & Co. was probably just waiting for.